On February 24 at Daytona International Speedway, two-time Daytona 500 champion, Nascar team owner and television analyst, Michael Waltrip, drove the No. 26 in honor of the 26 school staff and children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
A delegation from Newtown, including the Sandy Hook Fire Chief, Bill Halstead, the CEO of United Way of Western Connecticut, Kim Morgan, and a number of community residents affected by the tragedy, were at the racetrack to show their appreciation and cheer on Waltrip.
In the wake of the tragedy, local business owners, Hans and Sally Reelick, owners of Hollandia Nurseries, reached out to their friend, Nascar President Mike Helton, for support.
Nascar’s response was extraordinary.
Swan racing owner Brandon Davis donated the car and Waltrip came out of retirement to drive, while Nascar Chairman and CEO, Brian France and his wife personally contributed $50,000 to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund; a matching donation was made by the Nascar Foundation.
The No. 26 was adorned with large decals on both sides of the car inviting Nascar fans to make a $10 Text to Give donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Since the Daytona race, Text to Give donations have gone up by $15,000.
United Way of Western Connecticut would like to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone who made this extraordinary day possible!
Link to the story on Nascar’s website: http://www.nascar.com/en_us/news-media/articles/2013/02/14/nascar-newton-connecticut-tragedy-donation-support.html